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The 2002 Aaron's 312 at Talladega was a NASCAR Busch Series stock car race held on April 20, 2002 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Johnny Sauter of Richard Childress Racing won the pole position, while Jason Keller of ppc Racing won the race.

2002 Aaron's 312 at Talladega
Race details
Race 8 of 34 of the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series season
Map of the Talladega Superspeedway
Map of the Talladega Superspeedway
Date April 20, 2002 (2002-04-20)
Official name Aaron's 312 at Talladega
Location Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama
Course Permanent racing facility
2.660 mi (4.280 km)
Distance 117 laps, 311.2 mi (500.83 km)
Average speed 157.691 mph (253.779 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Richard Childress Racing
Time 50.730
Most laps led
Driver Jason Keller ppc Racing
Laps 51
Winner
No. 57 Jason Keller ppc Racing
Television in the United States
Network Fox
Announcers Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds

Contents

ReportEdit

BackgroundEdit

Because of a perceived aerodynamic advantage, several Chevrolet teams opted to run Pontiacs for the race.[1]

QualifyingEdit

Johnny Sauter qualified on pole position.[2][3] Rich Markle was the only driver to not qualify.[4][5]

RaceEdit

Sauter led the first eleven laps of the race, losing the lead on lap 12 to Stacy Compton.[4] On lap 14, the largest crash in modern NASCAR history (1972–present) took place at the exit of turn two, with 31 cars being involved. Three cars (Stacy Compton, Jason Keller and Kenny Wallace) had cleared pole-sitter Johnny Sauter as the field started down the back-straightaway. Scott Riggs (fourth on the outside) tried to pass Wallace on the outside, but checked up, causing Shane Hmiel to get in the back of him. Subsequently, Kevin Grubb bumped Hmiel, causing both Riggs and Hmiel to turn sideways down the track and hit the right-rear of Sauter and the right-front of Joe Nemechek, respectively. The impact from Riggs' car caused Sauter's car to turn sideways and flip twice in the middle of the track, thus blocking the track and causing a massive pile-up behind. The drivers involved were Riggs, Hmiel, Grubb, Sauter, Nemechek, Todd Bodine, Larry Foyt, Jack Sprague, Jeff Purvis, Jimmy Kitchens, Randy Lajoie, Kerry Earnhardt, Tony Raines, Bobby Hamilton, Jr., Ashton Lewis, Mike McLaughlin, Lyndon Amick, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Scott Wimmer, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Shane Hall, Tim Sauter, Jay Sauter, Michael Waltrip, Joe Ruttman, Jimmy Spencer, Mike Wallace, Mike Harmon, Jeff Fuller and Coy Gibbs. At the time of the crash, 41 of the 43 cars were on the track. Of those, only Compton, Keller and Wallace (who were in front of the crash), and C. W. Smith, Hank Parker, Jr., Casey Mears, Andy Kirby, Tim Fedewa, Larry Gunselman and Chad Chaffin (all of whom either got slowed down in time to miss the crash or had lost the lead draft altogether and were elsewhere on the track) made it through without damage. This crash brought out a 40-minute red flag and caused one minor injury to Mike Harmon (required stitches for biting through his tongue).[6][7][8] After the 40-minute delay to clean up, the race resumed on lap 20 with only seven cars on the lead lap.[9] The remainder of the race featured two additional caution periods for debris: one from laps 76–80, and another from laps 93–95.[4]

Kenny Wallace led from laps 16 to 23, with Compton taking the lead on lap 24; Compton would lead until lap 40, when Keller held the lead for a lap. On lap 42, Compton regained first, leading for 25 laps, surrendering the lead to Jeff Purvis on lap 67. The next lap, Keller retook first, leading for the remainder of the race. Only three cars – Keller, Compton, and Tim Fedewa – finished on the lead lap. Kenny Wallace (engine), C.W. Smith (overheating), Purvis (engine), Lewis (crash), Biffle (engine), McMurray, Wimmer, Hornaday, Johnny Sauter, Hall, Tim Sauter, Nemechek, Waltrip, Ruttman, Spencer, Mike Wallace, Harmon, Fuller, Gibbs (crash), Brad Teague (overheating) and Christian Elder (engine) failed to finish. The race featured a total of six leaders and seven lead changes.[4]

The win was Keller's first career victory at a superspeedway, his seventh-career Busch win, and his second of the season.[10] ppc Racing owners Greg Pollex and Keith Barnwell recorded their 26th and third wins, respectively.[11]

Race resultsEdit

Race results
Pos. Grid No. Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Points
1 12 57 Jason Keller ppc Racing Ford 117 185
2 2 59 Stacy Compton ST Motorsports Chevrolet 117 175
3 32 07 Tim Fedewa Biagi Brothers Racing Pontiac 117 0
4 17 92 Todd Bodine Herzog-Jackson Motorsports Chevrolet 116 160
5 24 66 Casey Mears Team Jesel Dodge 116 155
6 39 49 Andy Kirby Jay Robinson Racing Ford 115 150
7 36 77 Jimmy Kitchens Moy Racing Ford 111 146
8 31 14 Larry Foyt A. J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet 110 142
9 20 48 Kenny Wallace Innovative Motorsports Pontiac 107 143
10 9 36 Hank Parker Jr. Team Jesel Dodge 106 134
11 38 54 Kevin Grubb Team Bristol Motorsports Chevrolet 106 130
12 40 16 Chad Chaffin Day Enterprise Racing Pontiac 106 127
13 6 24 Jack Sprague Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 80 124
14 35 67 C.W. Smith Mike Smith Chevrolet 75 121
15 11 37 Jeff Purvis Brewco Motorsports Pontiac 73 123
16 42 84 Larry Gunselman Weber Racing Chevrolet 66 115
17 15 7 Randy LaJoie Evans Motorsports Chevrolet 63 112
18 23 12 Kerry Earnhardt FitzBradshaw Racing Chevrolet 63 109
19 5 10 Scott Riggs ppc Racing Ford 59 106
20 14 33 Tony Raines BACE Motorsports Pontiac 55 103
21 16 47 Shane Hmiel Innovative Motorsports Pontiac 54 100
22 37 25 Bobby Hamilton Jr. Team Rensi Motorsports Ford 53 97
23 30 46 Ashton Lewis Lewis Motorsports Chevrolet 52 94
24 19 18 Mike McLaughlin Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet 51 91
25 25 26 Lyndon Amick Carroll Racing Pontiac 50 88
26 7 60 Greg Biffle Roush Racing Ford 27 85
27 18 27 Jamie McMurray Brewco Motorsports Pontiac 25 82
28 34 23 Scott Wimmer Bill Davis Racing Pontiac 23 79
29 8 5 Ron Hornaday Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 23 76
30 4 21 Jay Sauter Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 20 73
31 33 63 Shane Hall Ken Alexander Racing Chevrolet 18 70
32 10 19 Tim Sauter AP Performance Racing Chevrolet 18 67
33 1 2 Johnny Sauter Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 14 69
34 3 87 Joe Nemechek NEMCO Motorsports Pontiac 14 61
35 13 99 Michael Waltrip Michael Waltrip Racing Chevrolet 14 58
36 21 51 Joe Ruttman Phoenix Racing Pontiac 14 55
37 28 1 Jimmy Spencer Phoenix Racing Pontiac 14 52
38 27 4 Mike Wallace Biagi Brothers Racing Pontiac 14 49
39 41 44 Mike Harmon Mixon Motorsports Chevrolet 14 46
40 22 88 Jeff Fuller NEMCO Motorsports Pontiac 14 43
41 26 20 Coy Gibbs Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac 14 40
42 43 52 Brad Teague Jimmy Means Racing Ford 6 37
43 29 38 Christian Elder Akins Motorsports Ford 2 34
Source:[4]

Standings after the raceEdit

 
Jack Sprague (pictured in 1996) remained the points leader after the race.
Pos Driver Points
1 Jack Sprague 1169
2 Jason Keller 1147
3 Randy LaJoie 1079
4 Kenny Wallace 1069
5 Scott Riggs 1068
6 Greg Biffle 1001
7 Bobby Hamilton Jr. 983
8 Stacy Compton 971
9 Mike McLaughlin 964
10 Scott Wimmer 919

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rodman, Dave (April 18, 2002). "Pontiacs proliferate at Talladega". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on December 6, 2004.
  2. ^ Rodman, Dave (April 19, 2002). "Talladega all about making smart decisions". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on December 6, 2004.
  3. ^ Rodman, Dave (April 18, 2002). "Sauter wins Bud Pole for Aaron's 312". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on December 6, 2004.
  4. ^ a b c d e "2002 Aaron's 312 at Talladega". Racing-Reference. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  5. ^ "Race Lineup: Aaron's 312". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on December 7, 2002.
  6. ^ Rodman, Dave (April 20, 2002). "'Big one' collects nearly 30". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on April 4, 2005.
  7. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2002/04/21/oth_339814.shtml
  8. ^ 2002 Aaron's 312 30 Car Wreck at Talladega. NASCAR. YouTube. January 31, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  9. ^ "Keller holds off Compton to win Talladega Busch race". Savannah Now. April 22, 2002. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  10. ^ Smith, Marty (April 22, 2002). "Keller edges Compton in crash-filled Aaron's 312". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on December 6, 2004.
  11. ^ "BUSCH: Talladega: Jason Keller race report". Motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. April 22, 2002. Retrieved October 1, 2017.